Carbon Pricing System Design and Modeling Lokey Fellow

With world attention on both the environment and the economy, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is where policymakers and business leaders turn for win-win solutions. By focusing on strong science, uncommon partnerships and market-based approaches, we tackle urgent threats with practical solutions. We are one of the world’s largest environmental organizations, with more than two million members and a staff of approximately 700 scientists, economists, policy experts, and other professionals around the world. We operate in 22 geographies with unique projects running across four programs. You will be part of a vibrant workplace that welcomes diverse perspectives, talents and contributions, where innovation and results are a way of life.


EDF envisions a world in which people from all backgrounds and experiences feel connected to the environmental challenges we face and are engaged in creating durable, equitable solutions. We seek talented candidates who share the Core Values that allow us to experiment courageously in our work while staying true to who we’ve been as an organization for 50 years. Are you a results oriented individual who is passionate about creating environmental solutions that make a lasting difference in the world? Do you respect diverse perspectives, talents and contributions? Do you value innovation and enjoy designing and using a wide range of problem-solving tools? Do you embrace environmental goals with a sense of optimism while taking into account real-world dynamics? If you have integrity and a strong desire to uphold a commitment to science, rigorous analysis, intellectual honesty and ethical action, then EDF is the place for you.

The Lokey Fellowship program started in 1992 as an internship opportunity. Since then, the Lokey endowment has added over 22 interns and 18 fellows to Environmental Defense Fund. Their accomplishments have been far-reaching and some of the fellows continue their work on our staff - for example, Lisa Moore started as a Lokey Fellow and now works as a Senior Scientist in the Office of the Chief Scientist.

Program Overview

EDF's Climate program works to promote ambitious, well-designed market-based climate policies around the world, with a focus on the top-emitting countries and sectors, as well as those projected to rise the most in the future.  We focus on market-based approaches, as they tend to achieve the biggest bang-for-the-buck in reducing emissions. By harnessing markets to drive down emissions, carbon markets and other pricing approaches can build the ambition needed to turn the corner toward climate safety.  The good news is that carbon pricing is gaining momentum around the world: over 50 jurisdictions (home to nearly one billion people) are implementing emission trading programs, and several others are pursuing carbon taxes.  Ninety countries identified using markets/carbon pricing as a means to achieve the targets they agreed to during the international climate conference in Paris.  China is in the process of developing a nationwide emissions trading system (ETS), which will become the world's largest as it begins operating across the country's power sector.  

Under its strategic plan, Pathways 2025, EDF's climate goals include having half of all global carbon dioxide emissions on track to be covered by durable, declining limits achieved with a carbon price by 2030.  Work to promote ambitious well-designed market-based climate policies around the world includes efforts at state and federal levels in the United States and across international forums such as the United Nations climate talks and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), set to launch a market system to achieve carbon neutral growth for international aviation as of 2021.  Priority work also includes supporting development of a national carbon market in China in partnership with EDF's China program; creating economic incentives to reduce tropical deforestation and shifting India's economy to a low-carbon development trajectory.  Central to all our work is in-depth economic and financial analysis.

Overall Function

The Lokey Fellow will work as part of a team of economic and policy experts within a Carbon Market Design Center under development in EDF's Climate program to help address global climate change by supporting economic model development and policy outreach on carbon market design and implementation.  The Fellow will contribute to economic research aimed at helping to make the case for the importance of carbon pricing policies at the international level, at helping to design and implement well-designed carbon market policies in particular countries and sectors (e.g. international aviation) and at helping to structure and communicate this information for use by policy makers as well as investors and other private actors.  The Fellow's responsibilities will include contributing to all aspects of planning, conducting, and communicating current and future climate economics research on carbon market development.

The Fellow's research will focus on helping to develop "hybrid" modeling frameworks that combine top-down and bottom-up modeling approaches to analyze market-based policies at national as well as subnational levels .  Climate policies often focus on reducing emissions from the electric power sector, coupled with other policies that promote electrification of other sectors (e.g., incentives for electric vehicles).   Assessing the impacts of such policies requires a model framework that can capture both the detailed impacts on the electric sector from policies such as renewable portfolio standards as well as spillover effects on the rest of the economy conveyed through changes in electricity prices.  Top-down macroeconomic (computable general equilibrium; CGE) models are able to capture such interlinkages, but are unable to account for investment options which are central to energy policy design.  Only bottom-up models can quantify the tradeoffs presented by alternative investments in generating capacity, transmission and storage choices that affect hour-to-hour system operation, but such models lack linkages with the broader economy.  To address this challenge, we are working with leading research partners to develop novel databases and hybrid approaches to create linked top-down/bottom-up energy-economic models at national and subnational levels.  This work will help to inform new climate policies and also to build open-source resources that foster transparency and collaboration across the broader climate policy community.  The Fellow's work will include:

  • Supporting novel modeling framework and quantitatively assessing alternative carbon pricing policy scenarios and policy designs. This will build on EDF's experience and modeling tools on US, China, India, and other regional and global carbon pricing systems.
  • Compiling and sharing lessons learned from practical experiences with key carbon pricing policy design choices under the Kyoto Protocol, EU ETS, California, China, Korea, and other carbon market jurisdictions to assemble and evaluate the evidence base on the performance of carbon markets and carbon market linkages to date.  This will build on an EDF co-authored handbook on carbon market design to help make the case that carbon markets are an effective policy tool and to support effective policy designs under new circumstances.
  • Contributing to developing novel analytics to incorporate the best available assessments of potential economic impacts of future climate policies into the valuation of different investments and their risk/opportunity tradeoffs.

The Fellow will contribute to a variety of research outputs including peer-reviewed papers and presentations and gain experience on how economic analysis and modeling can influence policy development in US and other countries.   The Fellow will also have the opportunity to participate in policy outreach and training efforts, including using EDF's carbon market simulation tool CarbonSim.  The Fellow's individual work program will be developed based on EDF's policy priorities and the Fellow's experience, skills and interests. 

The Fellow will gain technical skills and practical knowledge working closely with EDF economists and other experts at the interface of environmental economics research and international climate policy development.  In particular, the Fellow will work with a dynamic team of economists and legal, policy and finance experts in a new Carbon Market Design Center under development within EDF's Climate program.  The Fellow will work closely with Chief Natural Resource Economist and with economic modelers and policy experts across the Climate, Energy and China programs, as well as Office of the Chief Economist.  The Fellow will also have opportunity to collaborate with EDF experts and external research partners, including at the University of Wisconsin, Tsinghua University, and Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics. 

Key Responsibilities

  •  Help to design and implement a range of quantitative analysis and economic model development projects to analyze carbon pricing policies in major economies at national and subnational levels;
  • Coordinate with partners at other organizations outside EDF (e.g. universities and outside contractors) to conduct these analyses;
  • Assist in writing EDF research papers, reports, and advocacy products to communicate analytical results;
  • Present results and recommendations at meetings with policy makers, technical conferences and workshops, and fora with advocacy organizations and the general public;
  • Conduct outreach and capacity building activities with businesses, investors, and public and multilateral donors, to drive effective policy designs.


  • Must be a graduating student or a recent graduate of Stanford University.
  • Master's or PhD in economics, finance, or other field with exceptional academic performances and  strong experience with quantitative methods.
  • Economic, financial, or related modeling experience.  Experience with GAMS or R is a plus. 
  • Excellent data management and econometric/statistical analysis skills.
  • Exceptional attention to detail and organizational skills.
  • Strong written and verbal communications skills. 
  • Strong interest and background in policy, research or business related to environmental or sustainable development issues.
  • Ability to work well with diverse colleagues in fast-paced environment
  • Willingness to travel when necessary.
  • Foreign language skills are a plus.


Boston, MA, New York, NY or Washington, DC.


1-year term


Full-time (35 hours/week)

Application Materials

Interested applicants should attach their cover letter and resume to the EDF application, together with a transcript, list of three references, and an example of research work or other writing samples. 

Environmental Defense Fund is an equal opportunity employer where an applicant's qualifications are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis prohibited by law.